Black and white photograph of the Diploma of The Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry awarded to Robert Yorke Goodden.The leather scroll case is placed on top.

The Diploma of The Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry. It was designed by Percy Smith R.D.I., the lettering artist. The morocco leather cases are made by Sangorski and Sutcliffe. Among the signatures on the Diploma is that of H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth, President of the Royal Society of Arts.

A Collaborative Doctorate between the Design Archives and the Chartered Society of Designers.

In September 2010 the Design Archives welcomed Leah Armstrong as its first AHRC-funded collaborative doctoral student. We are delighted to be working with the Chartered Society of Designers on this project.

The core task of Leah’s research is to explore the disciplinary reach and geographic spread of British designers over an eighty-year period. Driven by the contention that a mapping of the identities and working practices of designers might act as a model for evolving working patterns and profiles of the 21st Century, Leah’s project interrogates the membership records of the Chartered Society of Designers, the main association of professional designers in Britain, from its founding as the Society of Industrial Artists in 1930 and related sources in the Design Archives. By mining this data, the aim is to explore how patterns of membership, mapped by place, by discipline and by gender, reveal the shifting demographics of design practice that have not been explored in any structured way hitherto. It also aims to explore the educational and more personal connections established between designers and their positioning over space and time, from the studios and design office, to their location within the city and the regions in Britain.

As part of the MA Cultural History course at the University of Manchester, Leah completed an AHRC-funded MA thesis on the subject of London’s invention as a Style City, using London Fashion Week and the establishment of the British Fashion Council as case studies in her analysis. This Collaborative PhD project thus enables her to further explore interests in ‘Cultural Capitals’, the ‘professionalization’ of design and concepts of space and place.

To find out more about Leah’s research visit her blog.

Chartered Society of Designers